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Bont's Motion shoes are comfortable and offer many of the benefits of the brand's higher-end models – stiff soles, an anatomical fit, and a low stack height – at an entry-level price. They are excellent value.
One of the things that sets Bont's shoes apart from the crowd is what it calls the 'anatomical design'. Essentially, it means that the shoes are more foot-shaped than most. That might sound weird, but the outline of a lot of shoes just isn't like the outline of most feet.
This means that Bont shoes look distinctive (some might say 'challenging'), but I find the last works for me very well, and I know the same is true for many other people. If you find that your feet get squeezed, pushed around or pinched by other shoes, it's certainly worth giving Bont a go.
One of the other key features of most Bont shoes is a bathtub-shaped carbon-fibre sole that extends around the sides of your feet and is heat-mouldable. You don't get that with the Motion – instead, you get a fibreglass sole that doesn't wrap upwards.
Why? Well, fibreglass is cheaper than carbon fibre. On the downside, you need more of it to make a stiff sole, so there's a weight penalty. If you only want carbon in your life, Bont's Riots aren't too much more expensive. As it is, the Motion's sole is still very stiff, especially considering the price, and the stack height – the distance your foot sits above the pedal's axle centre – is low at just 4.8mm.
The sole itself doesn't feature any vents, but you do get some in the toe guard, which is the same as you'll find on other Bont shoes, and I know from experience that it does a great job of protecting the upper from tyre rub. That toe guard is replaceable too, although it is glued in place... but then I've been using Bonts on and off for years and have never got anywhere close to needing a new one.
The heel guard is replaceable too, held in place by a little bolt, which is a far more civilised (user-friendly) way of doing it.
The sole takes three-bolt cleats –Shimano SPD-SL, Look Kéo, and the like – and you can slide the bolt holes fore and aft in their slots, giving you a little adjustability there.
One interesting feature is Bont's adaptor plate for compatibility with two-bolt (Shimano SPD-style) cleats too. It's similar to Shimano's existing SM-SH41 cleat adaptor.
You bolt the plate to the sole using two of the three cleat bolt holes. Then a cover goes over the plate, held in place by a bolt that goes into the third cleat bolt (are you following this?). You then fit the SPD cleat to threaded holes in the plate, the bolts going through the cover and helping to hold it in place. A tread on the cover means the SPD cleat isn't as exposed as it otherwise would be when you walk.
It sounds more complicated than it is. Just take a look at the pictures and you'll get the idea. It's a clever system.
Why add this feature? Bont says a lot of customers want a commuting shoe without the extra mass of a mountain bike-style design – it could have gone with a dedicated commuter shoe, but didn't think that was required. The ability to fit SPD-cleats is also handy for using on spin bikes at the gym.
Could you use the Motion with the adaptor plate for off-road riding? You could, but the relative lack of sole guards means it's not ideal. That said, I fitted it and used these shoes with Shimano XT pedals for gravel riding; at first, getting the cover's tread to fit around the cleat retention mechanism required a bit of a shove, but after a few engagements it all worked fine.
Bont say a Motion-level product for off-road isn't out of the question in the not too distant future. Let's be honest, that means one will definitely be available soon.
You do find other shoes at this price that are compatible with both two-bolt and three-bolt cleats – such as the Shimano IC1 Indoor Cycling Shoes we reviewed last year – but Bont's solution is pretty neat. It does, though, add a few millimetres (we measured it at just under 4mm) to the stack height.
The uppers are made from a microfibre that's reasonably supple and doesn't stretch, and you get quite a bit of padding around the opening.
The most obvious concession to price is the closure, which is handled by three Velcro straps. You can't micro-adjust them like you can dials or ratchets, nor can you fine-tune them through overshoes, but on the whole, they work fine. You do see dial closures at this price – Boardman's Road Cycle Shoes have a dial at just £55, for instance – but you can't really complain.
The uppers are perforated and mesh panels over your toes let moist air out and cool air in. I've not had the chance to try the Motions in hot weather, the test period being in the heart of winter, but I've used them indoors on the turbo and they're a lot cooler and less sweaty than shoes without mesh panels.
Out on the road, the Motions perform way better than you'd expect at this price. As mentioned, the sole is very stiff, and those Velcro straps hold your foot securely in place.
The heel counter isn't anywhere near as rigid as you get on Bont's more expensive models (where the carbon sole extends almost to the top of the upper) but I didn't experience too much lift here when sprinting. It's a solid all-round performance.
Hitting the road.cc Scales of Truth at 644g (size 46), the Motions aren't lightweight but they score in terms of comfort. Although we're all different, I find the shape of the last good and there's a decent amount of width in the forefoot. People with particularly wide feet can struggle with Bonts, but the lack of a bathtub-shaped sole means the Motions are more accommodating.
If you're concerned about sizing, try Bont's Size Wizard. In short, you trace around your foot on a piece of paper, measure the length and width, and stick these figures into the website. It'll then recommend a particular size.
In terms of durability, the fibreglass sole has held up well to grim winter conditions, and the microfibre upper is way tougher than you might think, shrugging off scuffs and scrapes. It wipes clean easily too – even on this white version I've been using.
The Boardman Carbon Cycle Shoes we reviewed last year come with a two-dial closure and a carbon-fibre sole, and are excellent value at £85, but I'd say the Bont Motions are equally impressive. Yes, the Velcro straps are a bit low rent but really that's the only way they fall short in comparison. The performance is terrific for the price.
The Bont Motion shoes offer a high level of stiffness, a whole load of comfort, and plenty of durability. They're not especially light and the Velcro straps won't appeal to everyone, but they're excellent value for money.
Stiff-soled yet very comfortable entry-level shoes with excellent performance
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bont Motion
Size tested: 46
Tell us what the product is for
Bont says, "Find new limits with Motion, Bont Cycling's most comfortable and efficient platform at a price point ideal for riders of all abilities.
"Delivering supreme comfort, anatomical efficiency and improved usability, Bont Cycling's Motion raises the entry-level cycling shoe game to all-new dizzy heights. Featuring a fully refined anatomical design, improved construction and performance-level materials, the Motion is Bont Cycling's most accessible model yet.
"The all-new Motion features a lightweight three-strap Velcro retention system, anti-stretch microfibre upper and improved bumper protection designed to withstand the rough and tumble of everyday cycling. Micro-mesh upper forefoot inserts, combined with specifically placed ventilation ports provide breathability across all seasons.
"Employing a revamped fibreglass base construction and harnessing Bont Cycling's renowned anatomical design philosophy, the Motion is the most comfortable, efficient, durable and anatomically correct platform currently available at this price point. The Motion is finished with a three-hole Micro Grid and is compatible with all major road and indoor bike pedal and cleat arrangements."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Bont lists these features:
Material: Fiberglass Construction with anti-stretch Microfibre upper.
Stack height: 4.8mm stack height for improved stability and injury prevention.
Air Vents: Ventilated microfibre air vents featuring micro-mesh inserts
Sole Guards: Replaceable heel and toe guards.
Cleat Mounting: 3-Hole Look/Shimano Standard configuration. SPD (two-hole) cleat compatibility available with adapter plate – March release
Closing Options: Three-strap Velcro
Sizing: 19 sizes (36-50), one width fits most
Weight: 320 grams (approximate weight based on size 42 shoe)
Color Options: White, Black
It's a really strong all-round performance.
The microfibre upper is tough, while the fibreglass sole is showing minimal signs of wear so far.
Bont's anatomical fit works well to avoid areas of pressure and discomfort.
Bont's online Size Wizard will tell you the size you need.
They're not mega-heavy, but they are heavier than average.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They're easy to clean with a damp cloth.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Excellent performance for the price.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Stiff soles, supple uppers, excellent price.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd have really liked a dial closure at the top.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Boardman Carbon Cycle Shoes we reviewed last year come with a two-dial closure and a carbon sole, and are excellent value at £85, but I'd say the Bont Motions are equally impressive. Yes, the Velcro straps are a bit low rent but that's the only way they fall short in comparison. The performance is terrific for the price.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The performance is excellent for the price. I'd definitely prefer a dial at the top (although there would probably be a price implication for that). Overall, it's a strong 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.